Do you know the CNES/AIRBUS CO3D mission ? As our Sentinel-HR mission could be made of satellites derived from those of the CO3D mission, it is a good opportunity to advertise this nice mission here. I took all the information from a presentation and a paper [1] written by Laurent Lebègue and the CO3D team.

A tasked multispectral VHR mission 

The CO3D mission (3D Optical Constellation) is a decided mission, currently in phase C/D, due to be launched by mid 2023, next year! It is made of two pairs of low cost satellites. The 300 kg CO3D satellites may be used as tasked VHR satellites, allowing to take images at 50 cm resolution, 4 bands (Blue, Green, Red, NIR), and a field of view of 7 km. At this resolution, one usually only gets a panchromatic band, or at best a Pan-sharpened image, but CO3D will provide 4 bands at 50 cm! These products will be commercialized by Airbus Defense and Space.

A 3D mission

But the main feature of CO3D is its ability to make stereoscopic observations from the same orbit with a base-height ratio of 0.2 to 0.3, almost simultaneously, as for each pair of satellites, the second one will follow the first very closely, as shown on the figure in the right. The objective is to make a global Digital Surface Model (DSM) by 2026, with 90% of the surface covered (there are regions with persistent cloudiness).  During the first eighteen months, the efforts will concentrate on two prioritary regions in which the DSM will be produced: one in France, and the other bigger one (27 M. km²), related to defense considerations covers North and Tropical Africa and the Middle East. But meanwhile, acquisitions over other parts of the world will be also performed. Then, the production will be extended to the whole land surfaces. Some capacity of revisit to monitor DSM change will be possible, but it will not be global. A capacity of 600 000 km² per year has already been negociated, and it will be possible to increase it at a low fare. Demands will go through the Dinamis portal.

The objective is to get a 1 m relative altimetric accuracy (CE90) at 1m resolution ground sampling distance (GSD). Each DSM will be produced at 1, 4, 12, 15 and 30 meter  GSD. At 15 m and 30m GSD, the DSM will be delivered as open data.

The project aims at delivering DSMs fully automatically, which requires a huge effort of development of methods, including the CARS method [2], a stereo pipeline to produce DSMs that is available as open source, and an ambitious ground segment. There is also a large downstream service to develop 3D methods and application through CNES S3D2 program, and through the AI4GEO project. I’ll try to convince my colleagues to describe the products more accurately here.

A DSM of a part of Nice, France, obtained with a Pleiades data set acquired to prepare CO3D ground segment and prcessors.


Written by O.Hagolle, with the appreciated help of Jean-Marc Delvit, Laurent Lebègue, Delphine Leroux and Simon Gascoin.


[1] Lebègue, L., Cazala-Hourcade, E., Languille, F., Artigues, S., and Melet, O.: CO3D, A WORLDWIDE ONE ONE-METER ACCURACY DEM FOR 2025, Int. Arch. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., XLIII-B1-2020, 299–304,, 2020

[2] Michel, J., Sarrazin, E., Youssefi, D., Cournet, M., Buffe, F., Delvit, J. M., Emilien, A., Bosman, J., Melet, O., and L’Helguen, C.: A NEW SATELLITE IMAGERY STEREO PIPELINE DESIGNED FOR SCALABILITY, ROBUSTNESS AND PERFORMANCE, ISPRS Ann. Photogramm. Remote Sens. Spatial Inf. Sci., V-2-2020, 171–178,, 2020.

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.